May 18, 2012
State Board of Education takes initial step to reconstitute Okolona School District
Jackson, Miss. – The Mississippi Board of Education voted Friday to take the first step to reconstitute the Okolona School District essentially giving the district back to the community.
“I am so elated this day has arrived,” said State Superintendent, Dr. Tom Burnham. “This is why we have this tool in place, to improve the school district and return it back to the community in better shape.
In February, 2010, the Board of Education voted unanimously to ask then Governor Haley Barbour to declare a state of emergency in the Okolona School District. The district faced many issues that jeopardized the safety, security and educational interests of the children enrolled in its schools. Most notably, there were serious concerns regarding financial resources and violations of 34 of the37 accreditation standards.
Today, the District meets all but three state accreditation standards and every senior at Okolona High School will graduate this month.
“The students, parents and community leaders worked hard to get this district back in good standing. I am pleased the Board can begin the process to give them back their schools. The conservator process worked for Okolona,” said Charles McClelland, Chairman, Mississippi Board of Education.
With the Board’s vote, a request will now be made to the Governor’s Office to issue a proclamation that the Okolona School District is no longer in an emergency situation. A school Superintendent and three school board members will then be appointed with two more school board members chosen by the local government until an election can be held.
“The State Board of Education will continue to provide help for the district. We will definitely be here if they need us. We want Okolona schools to continue their climb back to a successful school district,” said Dr. Burnham.
Dr. Michael Vinson serves as conservator for the Okolona School District.